A peer-reviewed paper recently published in the International Journal of Social Robotics argues that sex robots should be programmed to decide whether or not they consent to their owner's sexual advances. University of Wollongong PhD student Anco Peeters and Radboud University Professor Pim Haselager say that the move would help the "cultivation of compassion."
"Like consenting humans, a robot and its human partner will have to communicate carefully about the kind of interaction that will take place," Peeters and Haselager write. "And like in a relationship between humans, this communication could potentially result in the robot sometimes not consenting and terminating the interaction."
In short, academics now believe sex robots should be able to stop sexual interactions at their will, and they should be given this will.
Reactionary internet wouldn't have it, however, and have been mocking the proposal on social media all day.
"Man, between this and fictional characters, it seems like feminism's next frontier will be making sure that inanimate objects that remotely resemble women have more rights than living, breathing men," one Twitter user said.
Other users claimed that "consenting sex robots" will actually normalize non-consensual sex – it's not illegal (yet) to "rape" a robot.
"I'm no expert here, but wouldn't programming them to always consent more effectively prevent the normalisation of non-consensual sex?" a Twitter user noted.
"Ok, so the robot says no and they go ahead and sex em up anyways, that normalizes rape. The robot that never said no isn't getting raped," asks another.
Sex toys have been a contentious issue for quite some time, as feminists want to ban all sex dolls bearing a female likeness.
Last year, Feminist Current writer Megan Walker wrote what has been called a manifesto against sex dolls – and received over 13 thousand interactions on social media.
Let’s be clear. There is nothing harmless about “sex dolls.” They represent the ultimate debasement of women. They represent yet another level of society’s detachment from its responsibility to value, respect, and protect women. “Sex dolls” are a manifestation of porn culture and the male dominant society’s belief that it needs to do whatever it can to make sure men can have sex when and however they want it no matter at what cost.
It isn’t a plastic doll lying underneath them. It’s every woman who has turned them down; every woman they can’t have; every women who has been more successful, more praised, and more desired than the man can ever dream of being… and now that man can do whatever he wants to that woman. Make no mistake, that isn’t a doll he’s doing, or maybe raping, choking, or hitting — it’s all those women he can’t measure up to.
Maybe one day it will be a real woman.
For the other side of the issue, LULZ reached out to New Real Peer Review, a group that writes about academia, who claimed that "The general idea that men consume media that makes them worse people and especially bad with regards to women dates back to old time radical feminists like Dworkin and the alarmist low-quality science of one Cline (a big fellow back in the day, now deservedly forgotten)."
"This type of concern [sex robots potentially turning men into rapists] is isomorphic to the 'porn causes rape or at least misogyny' concern that has completely failed to materialize. If anything, there are indications opposite might be the case."
Robots.net has previously reported that Japanese sex clubs have already started employing robots, and meanwhile RealDolls' Abyss Creations – who recently showed off 'Solana' at CES '18 to great reviews – is based in California. Are we going to see an arms race between feminist and Japanese sexbots next?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.